Mysterium 2019: A Very Special Announcement

The team has finally returned to their homes around the world, and is looking back on an important week for the project. So what happened? Here are some highlights:

Cyan's headquarters in Spokane, WA
Cyan’s headquarters in Spokane, WA

The Presentation

This year’s convention was a special one: it was Mysterium’s 20th anniversary(!), and held in Spokane, WA – the home of Cyan Worlds. It was also the biggest Mysterium ever, with registration being capped early for the first time in the convention’s history. Attendees came from all over the world, and were an incredible audience for our traditional annual presentation.

Not only was this the biggest group in Mysterium’s history, it was also the biggest gathering of Starry Expanse team members in one place, ever! We knew we had to take advantage of having so many different perspectives, and decided to mix up the format a bit for our presentation, staging a panel-style discussion about our game development pipeline. We also showed off one of the areas we’ve been working on: the Mag-Lev dock that leads into the Survey Island elevator room.

In addition to rebuilding this area in Unreal Engine 4, the team talked about the additional considerations when developing for virtual reality. We even had the entire area available for Mysterium attendees to try as an in-person VR demo, which proved to be extremely popular throughout the convention. People of all ages and levels of VR experience come by to try the demo, which was a special experience for all of us. We even got to share it with some of this year’s special guests, including Chuck Carter (art director for Myst), Marty O’Donnell (sound designer for Riven, who also surprised us by bringing his archive of original audio files to share!), Philip Shane (director the upcoming Myst documentary film), and Russell Brower (composer for Firmament).

The video of the complete presentation will be posted by the Mysterium committee in the next few weeks; we’ll link to it once it’s available!

A Special Announcement

As many of you know, we’ve operated for a long time with Cyan’s blessing. This enabled us to work with our minds at ease, knowing that Riven‘s creators trusted us to treat their masterpiece with the respect it deserves. But we’ve always operated independently, as a group of fans volunteering their time toward a passion project.

As we’ve continued to make progress on the game, however, questions about resources and distribution have grown (which many of you have asked us, too). This prompted us to reach out to Cyan directly to talk through different options for completing and publishing the game. They welcomed our questions, and after a series of conversations, we are incredibly excited to announce that we are officially working with Cyan Worlds to bring the dream of a real-time Riven into reality.

This is the culmination of a lot of hard work, both on the game itself, and on our team’s development pipeline and internal structure. We’ve always held Cyan in the highest regard (that’s our professional way of saying we’re their biggest fans), and it is literally a dream come true to be moving forward with the project in this way. After Mysterium concluded, we even had the opportunity to sit down for a meeting with the team at Cyan headquarters, which was both wonderful and a little surreal for all of us.

The Starry Expanse team with Rand Miller at Cyan HQ

There’s still plenty to figure out, and there will be more details to share in the future. Right now, we are just excited to be a part of the extended Cyan family, and thrilled to be able to share this major development with all of you. This is the beginning of a new chapter in the development of the Starry Expanse Project, and we can’t wait to write it together.

46 Responses to “Mysterium 2019: A Very Special Announcement”.

Team members' usernames are in red.
  • Scaillo Says:

    Big congrats guys. You worked hard for this!

  • Peter Says:


    Looking forward to the presentation. And even more of what the future will bring.

    Working with mr Miller is absolute the best news in a very long time.

    To Riven and beyond…

    Thank you for doing what you are doing!

  • John Drake Says:

    Incredible news Guys, great to hear. Well done

  • BenMech Says:

    I said in the discord chatrooms that this announcement was imminent and obvious.

    Congratulations to everyone!

  • Antony Says:

    This is incredibly awesome. It’s basically going to become and official realRiven that will not be short on compromise.

  • James A Lightfoot Says:

    Your destiny is manifest. As is that of us all – a VR Riven.

  • Swerve83 Says:

    Well deserved, both have done remarkable things. Can’t wait to see gaming’s best classic series in real-time once again!!!!!

    I’ve been shadowing cyan since ei purchased my first copy of myst and was over joyed when I stumbled onto some random forum online claiming that there is a team that was recreating riven for real time 3D.

    Not only are you cyans biggest fans, but you represent ALL fans of every gaming genre; whether they’ve played cyans games or not. What starry expands and cyan are doing…this is truly the example that the gaming industry needs to follow.


  • Robert Says:

    Congratulations. I have been keeping my eye on this project from the start and have to say that I am beyond pleased for you all. The hard work is paying off. Well done to you all. This news has made my week.

  • Flowerpower Says:

    Yay!!!! Best news ever!

  • Graizur Says:

    Wow. That’s crazy. Dream come true through work and whatever you call team work so that forming the team is a type of thing like work. Wow!

  • Joe Says:

    That is amazing news! Congratulations guys!

  • Samuel Buisseret Says:

    Im crying ! Damn, This is high as the FF7 remake announcement to me !!

  • Not that guy Says:

    Awesome news, congratulations!

  • Stefanos Says:

    Amazing news you guys! Good for you (and us I guess)!

  • Steve Says:

    I had recently downloaded riven from Steam and was severely disappointed by the graininess of the game on modern computers. Did a search to see if there were any plans on a realRiven like realMyst and stumbled on this post from the other day. Wish you guys all the best and will definitely plan on purchasing this once it’s ready to be released. Thank you guys!

  • Dennis Says:

    This is awesome news!

  • Josh Reynolds Says:

    Wow, this is truly a dream come true for us all! Congrats guys and thank you for all your hard work. It’s finally going to pay off. You should all be so proud!

  • Rey Says:

    Release the footage! What did Cyan show?

  • Donald Meldrum Says:

    That’s seriously fantsatic news! Definitely well deserved. Follow up question: will future development be effectively closed to outside volunteers, our will there still be room for additional community involvement?

    • Iman Says:

      Hi Donald! Recruitment is currently on hold, while we figure out our next steps together with Cyan. If you (or anyone else) are still interested in joining the team, you’re always welcome to email us at general [at] starryexpanse [dot] com with your information, and we’ll hold on to it for future reference. Thanks for your support!

  • Captain Adventure Says:

    Well done. I hope that this means you will reconsider not having a day night cycle. I know there are gameplay issues but you have those with realtime 3d anyway. Being in the jungle at night, esp near the totem would be spooky cool. Also prison island under a full moon. C’mon. Give it a shot. πŸ™‚

  • Sam Says:

    Amazing work guys! Have been keeping up on this project for a number of years now and for you to team up with an actual studio finally is amazing! I hope you can become permanent team members with them and look into not just doing Realriven now (which I am sure the work on this will be accelerated by you guys now getting paid for your work) but looking into also doing realexile (Myst III) and maybe realrevelations (Myst IV) as well in the same 3d real time format!

  • Atrur Says:

    ThatÒ€ℒs great news, congratulations! But I see that your donation link has disappeared! Will it come back? πŸ˜‰

  • Lord Nyriox Says:

    Bravo! It is great to hear about the deeper collaboration with Cyan.

    I hope this means you will consider further expansion of the project (such as implementing details from the books and that day/night cycle you decided to cancel).

  • Flake Says:

    Where is the record of SE presentation Mysterium 2019 ? We still waiting πŸ™

  • Vincent Krebs Says:

    Congratulations guys, these are amazing times. Now realRiven is about to become real.

  • Cai Says:

    This is fantastic news! So excited for the future πŸ™‚

  • Mike J Says:

    This is some seriously incredible news to hear. I was worried about Cyan shutting this down, with them on board surely it will one day become a reality. To any Cyan members on board, are there any plans to impliment new ideas or places in the Riven world? I personally always wanted to explore Riven more instead of just being stuck inside a prison cell.

  • mYsTiFiEd Says:

    Will the game support 4K and HDR? Many people would be more excited for those than for VR. The reason VR hasn’t caught on is that it is actually a downgrade in graphics quality (poorer resolution and all that), whereas 4k and HDR are the kind of fundamental and foundational improvements that will always be embraced by the public because they are and have always been what graphics tech is all about. To reject 4k and HDR is like rejecting anti-aliasing, anisotropy, lighting effects, occlusion, etc., which is just never gonna happen. VR and 3D, however, don’t have quite the foundational impact, and hence their lack of reception. Rand Miller may be “going all in” to VR, but you don’t have to. Are you using HDR or SDR color space? I would definitely think about supporting HDR if you haven’t already.

  • mYsTiFiEd Says:

    Obduction has HDR (and it looks fantastic with it). So if Rand Miller is getting involved in Starry Expanse, he may want it to have HDR as well. But for it to work, all your graphics have to be created with HDR colorspace. If they were done in SDR colorspace as it is typically done, they have to be redone from scratch. A lot of current AAA and indie games have HDR so this thing is the future:

  • Cobryn Says:

    I would really love to hear more about these fantastic news in the recording from Mysterium.. πŸ˜€

  • Nicolas Says:

    Awesome, can’t wait to see the video!
    Have you guys thought of using portals? I do not know how hard it would be to implement in UE4, but I remember using portals (in the game portal) to create non-euclidian geometry.
    You could use this to shorten pipes on boiler island, make the inside of the temple bigger than the outside, make the cave on boiler island straight and not stick out of the terrain, etc…
    Just a thought! Keep the amazing work!

  • Flake Says:

    Any News ?

  • Anthony Says:

    Any updates?

  • Paul Says:

    When are you guys going to upload the video?

  • The Green Butterfly Says:

    The presentation of the Starry Expanse team has been uploaded to the Mysteriumcon Youtube channel!

  • Nicksname Says:


  • NM64 Says:

    Direct link to the presentation:

  • Flake Says:

    Happy X-mas everybody

  • DemonCooler Says:

    “we are officially working with Cyan Worlds to bring the dream of a real-time Riven into reality.”


  • Daniel O'Neil Says:

    Will we ever get an update from the Starry Expanse team again?

  • Travis Says:

    Someone should take all the high-res screenshots and renders we have of riven (like the ones from that calendar and the from Myst to riven book)and replace the ones in the game so we could play the original version with some of the game in HD

  • Flake Says:

    How does it looks like next year ? Is 2020 the release of realRiven ?

  • Anthony Says:

    Happy 2020!
    Hope the team is refreshed and ready for the the new year.

  • Derick Says:

    I would pay probably 100$for a riven remake in 3d.
    Is there’s a special edition with physical goods, like case and manual etc, would probably drop closer to $200.

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